More To The Story — Virtually every time a politician or political appointee says they are leaving a position, they say some version of “I need to spend more time with my family.” Of course, that is almost never the case so no one can blame every politico in Alaska for dismissing Attorney General Craig Richards’ claim that that was why he was abruptly resigning.
The problem is there is actual evidence to suggest Richards’ departure was exactly for the reasons he stated. According to court records, Richards’ and his wife filed for divorce on May 31st, just three weeks ago.
So is Richards using the end of the special session as an opportunity to leave Walker’s administration in Juneau and return home to shore up things on the family front? It looks like it could be just that.
Way To Go Bro — According to Politico, Mark Begich was spotted having dinner with supermodel Cindy Crawford Wednesday night. Oh, and there is stuff in there about making kids healthier too:
“SPOTTED last night at Joe’s Stone Crab, supermodel Cindy Crawford and the crew from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, including Sen. Mark Begich, Marc Lampkin, Makan Delrahim, Will Moschella, and Laura Johnson. Crawford is in town for Hill meetings today on behalf of America Unites for Kids, a Malibu-based nonprofit seeking to remove toxic and illegal levels of chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls from schools. The group was joined by Jennifer deNicola, Founder and President of America Unites for Kids, as well as Jeff DeBoer, President and CEO of the Real Estate Roundtable.”
Midnight Sun On The Air!!!! — Master of Morning Radio Rick Rydell (AM 650 KENI) has asked us to come on every week and share Friday in the Sun with his audience. So listen for our inside scoop every Friday morning at 7:35.
The Really Real Conservatives — The Alaska Republican Assembly (you know, the more-conservative-than-you group), has issued their slate of candidate endorsements for this year. Here are the lucky recipients:
Email Assault — The end of the second quarter fundraising period for federal candidates is Thursday; be prepared for every campaign to attack your email inbox with solicitations this week. Just a warning.
Campaign Facebook Fail — Pretty sure this is going to be a regular segment in this column until election day; here is this week’s installment of a campaign not knowing how to use social media:
Do Us All A Favor — Apparently the Democrat House candidate in District 22, Ed “Berniecrat” Cullinane, just isn’t feeling the love. My phone blew up this week with rumors Cullinane was asked to leave the race by State Senate candidate and fellow Democrat Forrest McDonald (I’m Not Forrest Dunbar).
You see, Cullinane is in a three-way race likely with incumbent Republican Rep. Liz Vazquez and moderate Independent Jason Grenn. Most believe a Dem can’t win the race, and Grenn will face an uphill battle in a three-way race. If, however, Cullinane dropped out, Grenn would have an excellent shot at taking out Vazquez. It’s solid logic.
When I called Cullinane to ask if the rumor was true, he made it clear it wasn’t just McDonald but a slew of Dems who have told him to get out, as he says “some nice and some not so nice.”
Don’t bet on it happening. He says he’s in it for the long haul.
Invite In Cleveland — It looks like Alaska-sized hospitality is paying off for the Alaska Republicans. During trips to Alaska, including the Alaska Republican Assembly’s Freedom Rising event this spring, well-known conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza was so warmly received he wanted to return the favor. Consequently, D’Souza has invited the entire Alaska delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month to a private screening of his yet to be released film “Hillary’s America.”
Vinny The Candidate — Last night our favorite race of the year officially began. AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami held his campaign kick-off in the fitting environment of Grubstake Auction Warehouse in the industrial area around Post Road. Given Beltrami is an organizer by trade, it shouldn’t surprise anyone the event was very well attended and attendees were enthusiastic. In fact, several people wanted to get their pictures taken presenting their checks to Beltrami. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that at a fundraiser. Notable in attendance were Bob Lester, Mao Tosi, Jason Grenn, Rep. Chris Tuck, Rep. Andy Josephson, Katherine Pfeiffer, David Dunsmore, Chris Constant, Rep. Les Gara, Kay Brown, Elias Rojas, Rep. Harry Crawford, Andy Holleman, Tom Westcott and Economist Neal Fried.
Beltrami couldn’t give a count on how much cash flowed in, but he did send over this pic:
Welcome Young Outsiders — It is amazing every election cycle to see how many college kids or recent college graduates migrate to Alaska to get a taste of Alaska politics. Following that trend is fresh-off-the-boat, 23-year-old Caroline Hamp, who according to the Ketchikan Daily News, has been hired to run the campaign of Southeast Independent Rep. Dan Ortiz. Hamp signed up with Otriz’ through his daughters Molly and Louisa, who were friends of Hamp’s during their time at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
Help me welcome Ms. Hamp to Alaska; a beauty none can duplicate and a brand of politics no one wants to.
Days until the Primary Election — 54
Days until the General Election — 138
Not So Fast, Donald — Religious conservatives in Alaska aren’t jumping on the bandwagon of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery sent out a message to followers this week saying:
“You might have heard or read about a recent conversation that was organized between faith leaders across the country and Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Click HERE for what our ministry friend Tony Perkins at Family Research Council had to say about it.”
“Former Governor Mike Huckabee interviewed Mr. Trump and despite what you might have heard, the response was not overwhelming support as the press would have us think. It was polite and done with Christian dignity.”
“Stay engaged. Don’t lose hope. We are not called to place our trust in princes anyway.”
Fly Into The Sun — If you have morsels you’d like shared in this column, please email us at [email protected]
Point Lisa — Before we go on to listing some of the many, many events we have on our political calendar this week, let me just declare a winner. It’s clearly Lisa Murkowski’s Saturday night event her crew is billing as “an exclusive sneak peak of 49th State Brewery’s new downtown location.”
Lisa’s team keeps saying they are trying to reach out to younger voters, and this event has three things millennials can’t pass up: the ego feed of VIP status, the instant gratification a sneak peak at anything provides, and beer. You could probably eliminate the first two and still be pretty well on your way with Alaskans of any age.
It’s a big week with lots of campaign kickoffs happening. Here are just some events you can find on our Political Calendar —